Lifeline for families fleeing abuse

Lifeline for families fleeing abuse

Life can be extremely tough for victims of domestic abuse, especially when children are involved, and can have a devastating impact on families. Our work in Epping makes a vital contribution to supporting families experiencing the effects of abuse.

When Sophie*, teenage mum to two-year-old Joshua*, was referred to one of our children's centres by social services, she was in a very dark place. Her relationship with Joshua's dad was mentally and psychologically abusive and he was often aggressive. Our work set about turning Sophie and Joshua's lives around.

The Triple R programme is designed for families like Sophie and Joshua. Through a directed series of activity, it identifies the traits of abusive people and how to avoid negative relationships. It also addresses the harm that abuse causes by building confidence, self-esteem and new skills.

Using a tool called the Parenting Puzzle, Sophie created a learning journal for Joshua. She now monitors his progress through nursery, and he is doing very well, especially with his reading and writing. Sophie has also learned about the importance of routine and healthy eating for Joshua. She is confident enough to put consistent boundaries in place, and cooks most of his meals from scratch.  She also stopped smoking so she can save for driving lessons.

Our Centre brought in other agencies, including a health visitor and social services, to review Sophie and Joshua’s substantial progress.  Sophie is now much more confident, her self-esteem has grown and Joshua has a much happier mum. But the outcomes are about much more than confidence.

After completing the programme, social services felt Sophie had progressed so well that they no longer needed to be involved in Joshua's care. She is now preparing to volunteer with Spurgeons to build her skills so she can get back into work and education. For Sophie and Joshua, the future which once looked so bleak, is brighter than ever.

Sophie says of her experience with Spurgeons:

“I believe in myself a lot more than before.”

It is not enough just to remove people experiencing abuse from those relationships. We use a holistic approach to equip, empower and inspire people who are or have been at significant risk of harm to give them more skills and confidence through our support.

*All names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.